Castro District is a locality in San Francisco famous for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community worldwide. Better known as The Castro, it attracts people from all over the United States and abroad in equal measure. The Castro starts from the intersections of 18th and Castro Street, and extends from 19th Street to Market Street. This area is among the most prominent areas regarding activism and events that touch on issues pertaining to the LGBT community.
It is known to openly accommodate to this distinct community and had become a famous tourist destination for people from all walks of life with different sexual preferences. Despite this, the gay community is not restricted to the district and there are other neighborhoods in San Francisco where they are found too.
The Castro has its gay origins in the discharge of military offices serving in the United States military during World War II. The armed forces had not accepted the notion of gay officers serving and for this reason they were shipped in mass to San Francisco when their duties were terminated. Prior to this the street came into existence in 1887 when a railway line was built by the Market Street Railway Company connecting downtown to Eureka Valley. After World War II The Castro became a gathering place for the influx of gays who flocked from all over the country with a famous meeting point at the foot of Market Street.
The proactive nature of the community has made it a home to the LGBT community and it has developed a history noted for the prominent activists who have supported the position of the gay community. The most prominent among them is Harvey Milk who opened a Camera store and ventured into political activism on behalf of the community. Due to his efforts, Castro District became an openly gay district with various social spots catering to the preferences of the LGBT community as a whole.
Not much has changes ever since The Castro became known as a location with an openly gay community. It has become the key location for people from different parts of the world and a venue that symbolizes gay pride and activism. Another key attraction to Castro District is the famous parties it throws year round with the Pink Party being an annual festive and ritual-like event that celebrates the diversity of mankind in this respect.
It has not always been rosy for the Castro District with the community being among the hardest hit by HIV/AIDS from 1984 and measures by the LGBT community have been put in place to curb the spread of this pandemic by offering free testing and counseling as well as the pinning up of posters in kiosks including immediate testing services on dating agencies.
Despite all the challenges faced, there is a host of attractions that keep visitors going to The Castro including the GLBT History Museum, F Market heritage streetcar line, Pink Triangle Park, The Hot Cookie Bakery and Twin Peaks.